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Weekend brings some respite for Team Anna

July 28, 2012 20:21 IST

Weekend provided some respite for Team Anna as moderate crowds turned up at their indefinite fast on Saturday, while Anna Hazare geared up to join the hunger strike from tomorrow.

Setting the tone for his fast, Hazare attacked the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party saying the country's future does not lie safe in their hands and talked about the need for a political alternative in the 2014 elections, during which he will campaign for those with clean background selected by people.

However, he declared he will not contest the elections or form a party. He also accused the government of cheating the people repeatedly on Lokpal and said he was forced to fast again and again, which is 'not a happy thing'.

"I will fight for Jan Lokpal till I die", said Hazare, whose four-day ultimatum to government on a decision on his demands ends today or else he goes on fast. Hours later his close aide Arvind Kejriwal appealed to Hazare not to sit on fast citing his health.

"His health is not well. We lost Mahatma Gandhi at a wrong time, We lost Jaiprakash Narayan early and we cannot afford to lose Anna now. So I request Anna not to fast," he  said.

Hazare and Kejriwal spoke on a similar vein on the low turnout at the venue attacking political parties and the media.

While Hazare took a dig at parties saying even during election rallies major portions of venues remain empty, his aide targetted the media alleging they do not have the courage to highlight 'flop shows' of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi.

"People say Anna has flopped. There is a design to make Anna flop. Corrupt people are hoping that Anna flops. If Anna flops, the country will flop," he said while Hazare noted, 'the colour of your spectacle determines the colour you see'."

"People are saying there is no crowd. But truth does not need crowd. We have not brought anyone here. I challenge Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi to bring at least half of this crowd without arranging trucks and buses for people," claimed Kejriwal.

Echoing Hazare on political parties, Kejriwal asserted that one cannot expect anything from Congress or the BJP and that people should ensure all the 15 union ministers, whom Team Anna had accused of indulging in corruption, lose deposits in the next elections.

"What can you expect from the BJP or the Samajwadi Party or the Bahujan Samaj Party or the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam or All India Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam? Can we expect something from Nitish Kumar? Many good things are said about him. Then why is he not getting the Jan Lokpal Bill passed," he asked.

Outlining his plans for 2014, Hazare said, if 'good people' do not enter Parliament, there will be no change in the system and country will not get a strong Lokpal.

"For a vote, Rs 15,000, Rs 20,000, Rs 30,000 are given (to voters). Those who get elected are making money and they don't know where to keep this money. So they send it to foreign countries. Now its time to awaken the voters.

"Some are saying that we should give alternative, we should form a party. Rs 15-20 crore is spent by a candidate for assembly elections and Rs 50 crore for Lok Sabha polls. I will not fight elections. I will not put up a party," he said.

Hazare said he will, however, tour the country urging the people to select candidates to fight elections. He said the team will probe their background and then put their names up in the Internet seeking people's opinion about them.

"From them, we will put up some people for election. I will go for their campaigning and tell them that this is a good candidate and we need good people in Parliament...the country's future is not safe with Congress and the BJP," Hazare asserted.

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